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Ofcom starts process to lay ground rules for 5G
Friday 16 January 2015 12:47:50 by Andrew Ferguson

5G promises a lot namely that mobile broadband services may have 10 Gbps to 50 Gbps on the way within five to six years, or at least that is what the PR people would have us believe.

5G is set to be the big buzzword for a year or two and Ofcom is clearly onboard and as guardian of the spectrum has a responsibility to police how the spectrum is sliced up. While it is very early in the life of 5G, after previous 3G and 4G auctions we feel it is reasonable to presume an auction will be held eventually.

Seeking input and guidance on what operators might want from 5G is clearly important, but we are a bit worried about the way Ofcom is wording 5G communications, mainly that various monorail sales people may have been doing the rounds, i.e. promising way more than what is possible. The physics of the radio spectrum above 6GHz is such that almost any building material or body part will block the signal, meaning that 5G in that part of the spectrum will be more suited to HDMI cable replacement for in room communication.

5G is likely to use chunks of lower frequency spectrum to provide 50 to 100 Mbps type speeds when really mobile, with the Gigabit and faster speeds only kicking in when close to an advertising hoarding or in a stadium/public area which has been wired with the necessary advanced waveform antenna.

Update 2:30pm After input from Ofcom who have highlighted the early nature of this call for input from industry and also that Ofcom has not made the suggestion of any auction at this stage we have adjusted the wording of our second paragraph to make it clear any auction talk is our own opinion and based on how mobile spectrum has been handled in the past. The previous headline "Ofcom starts to eye up revenue from 5G auction" was also objected to by Ofcom has been reworded to a more neutral one.

Comments

Posted by flippery about 1 year ago
Far as I understand 5G will occupy the existing freeview spectrum.
Interesting how government will probably expect viewers to pay for changes that may be necessary.
Whilst pocketing huge amounts from auction.
Posted by otester about 1 year ago
Doesn't really matter any more, we have a cartel, price/usage will always be **** from now on...
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
I would suggest to OFCOM that they consider the existing coverage offered by each mobile provider before they allow them to bid in any auction.
This would be a good way of forcing them to improving coverage for those of us in areas, such as rural Sussex, who are lucky if we get 2G with a bit of 3G outdoors.
Posted by otester about 1 year ago
@chilting

Why should your poor choice of location be used as a reason to use state force against others?
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
@otester
I think my location gets a service that is fairly typical for most of us who live in villages throughout the UK.
Using state force to improve service levels simply at the expense of mobile providers profits can only be a benefit for all customers, even those who just escape to the country for a weekend break.
Posted by otester about 1 year ago
@chilting

Less profits, means less dividends to the shareholders, meaning less investment.
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
@otester
True, but service providers often need a good push up the backside to improve their service, especially when they operate a virtual monopoly.
Posted by otester about 1 year ago
@chilting

The current situation is due to government policy by making expansion unprofitable.
Posted by kmendum about 1 year ago
Nearer the mark is the cost of the telecoms circuits from the mobile basestation to the operators network and the low revenue from that geographic area to offset the costs. Add in some optimistic radio planning and you get poor network coverage...until Government and Ofcom stamp their collective foot and insist on network build
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